Should Espoo International School (EIS) stay at Opinmäki?

The success of the Finnish education can be attributed to the long-standing values that underpin the national core curriculum and reflect Finland’s strive and commitment towards the well-being of school children.

The learning environment must support the pupil’s growth and learning. It must be physically, psychologically, and socially safe, and must support the pupil’s health […] The pupils must be given the chance to participate in the creation and development of their own learning environment” (Preamble of the Finnish curriculum for basic education).

Furthermore, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) surveys have over the years revealed “equality” being one the most important words in Finnish education, small size schools/classes as its landmark, and ‘play’ being essential to children development.

The proposal of relocating EIS pupils (amongst 2500 pupils age 7 to 19 from other nearby schools) to an abandoned (due to mold) office building without playground facilities, situated in a highly industrial area of Otaniemi undeniably violates these values and damages public trust in local government and transparency of decision-making.

The Espoo city officials who presented the proposal in a resident event on the 5th of September 2017 have, however, reassured the guardians that Espoo city cares about their opinion and wants to hear and use their views when concluding the final decision (even though the renovation of the controversial Otaniemi building has already started and the building work is expected to be completed by 2019).

If you have good reasons to believe that the Espoo International School (EIS) should stay at Opinmäki, please share your comments and opinions below.

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17 thoughts on “Should Espoo International School (EIS) stay at Opinmäki?

  1. Parent of EIS says:

    Moving the school to an office building that will be shared with 2 high schools is not going to be a benefit to our children. As both a teacher and a parent, I cannot imagine a first grader going alone to school in the proposed area in Otaniemi, which is not child-friendly in any way. (Parent of Espoo International School)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rajasekar mohan says:

      Yes, we don’t want my kid to put in a school which doesn’t have play ground and 6. Floor building. We would like to stay eis at opinmaki.

      Like

  2. Parent of EIS says:

    School cannot be moved from place to place every couple of years. And the proposal is very dodgy and doesn’t look like serving any tax payer interests. Also city looks very inconsistent in their communication and action, as it was very clearly communicated years ago, that Suurpelto school will be for EIS.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Parent of EIS says:

    To move EIS from a fantastic, modern, purpose built school campus to an old office building with no outside facilities and a history of serious indoor air problems would be a very poor decision. The students, staff and families would not benefit in any way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Parent of EIS says:

    A relocation would place our children at a considerable academic disadvantage by adding more than an hour to their daily commute to school. A relocation of the school would also ruin a vibrant community of internationally-minded families that has emerged in Suurpelto in recent years.
    We purchased a house and moved to Suurpelto in 2015 solely because of EIS, and there are dozens of families in our immediate neighborhood who did the same. A relocation would force many of the families to move again, while those without the economic means to move would be burdened with immense logistical difficulties.
    In summary, a relocation of the school would shatter the daily lives of hundreds of families that just have managed to adjust to EIS moving to Suurpelto. It would also dismantle a lively, international community of Suurpelto that Espoo has worked so hard to promote.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Tanja Vuokko says:

    The whole plan to move EIS is a totally absurd one and finding out this plan which tried to be rushed upon (and construction work already started) without democratic decision shows a severe problem with Espoo City decision making. I would seriously consider my children to leave the school if the proposed plan will go ahead. I will not risk their health and safety with a school that I consider being a major risk for their wellbeing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chandu says:

    It’s been a long waiting dream came true in 2015 as EIS, and kids love the place and the surrounding environment and it’s very healthy and they get energized with fresh and pleasant surroundings at the break times and while waiting and back home. In perspective of kids and parents, opinmäki is very safe, in terms of all aspects. Kids and parents got used to the EIS and it would shatter the life of both. Especially kids like it more than the earlier location of the schools.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Parent of EIS Primary School Child says:

    Everyone who lives in Finland strongly believes in the Educational System just because it is bound by its own principles and core values. It must have been given a great deal of planning and execution to build the Opinmaki Campus and combining the existing English schools into one single place. It is a great achievement and a big milestone for Finland and its residents. Proposing to move EIS from Opinmaki is simply against the core values of the education system which laid down the rules on how the educational environment should be esp. for the Primary School Children. This move is not taken by the Educational department as it has been told by them repeatedly. So, why would any department other than the educational department propose such a move which is hurting the core values of the system and shaking firm belief of the residents about the educational system.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Parent of EIS Primary School Child says:

    The proposed place for the new school is not suitable for School. The move in itself is unnecessary as there are many more viable options to meet the future growth. We have a strong feeling that this move is not driven by the need for fulfilling the future requirements. Was there any study done by the educational department to choose the location and can the report be shared with us? if not, why are we even talking about making such a move.Not just EIS. any other school for that matter. This proposal must be dropped .

    Liked by 1 person

  9. EIS parent says:

    The main questions: why is EIS on continuous relocation bid? Is it because is an EIS that is why it is easily cherry picked to achieve the Espoo city’s strategic goal? How many schools in the City have had to move and change locations just like EIS?. When will such an internationally recognized, celebrated and acclaimed school get a permanent and sustainable location? The city should answer these questions to assuage the fears and suspicion this has generated among parents. Is just not right. The current place of EIS is the best and we should together reject any attempt to relocate us. This is unfair!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mateen says:

    Everywhere in the world and in Finland too. Schools are close to where you live, not where you work. Otaniemi is all office or University area. Even HOAS housing is spread across Espoo. I am not sure who will benefit from this move. No one will be able to walk to school.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Aleksandra Postola says:

    The answer is absolutely YES. The question is: why do we have to defend our current location, why someone wants to kick us out of the school building? Why kids of international citizenships, but not only them, because there are plenty of Finnish nationals in EIS, do not deserve the right for a good, proper, modern school building only because they use English as a language of instruction at school? EIS is a normal, public school, it follows the renowned Finnish curriculum and have great results. We have the same right to have the Opinmaki building as any other local school. And besides, EIS is slowly becoming a local school, because more and more people are constantly moving to Suurpelto, Hentta, Mankka or Olari to live within walking/biking, easy and safe distance from the school. Is there a place for a small Finnish local school in Opinmaki? Yes and it should be for Suurpelto kids. But this is what is happening during the last two years. We have guest schools and we share the facilities with them. So, why not simply continuing the idea? Let’s have our EIS and small Finnish school in Opinmaki. We can see it worked OK for the last two years.
    Moving to Otaniemi is one of the most bizarre proposals I’ve heard here in Finland. It is a shame that we, parents, have to say out loud such obvious facts that the Otaniemi premise is not suitable for a school, especially a primary school. It is absurd that here in Finland someone came to an idea of making a school for 2500 kids ages 7 to 19. It is definitely against the Finnish school system values. We have heard all about small, local, close by schools and after that we hear: and you, international kids, can sit overcrowded in an old, moldy, highrise building in a middle of an industrial area.
    We are happy with our school, its location and size. I don’t want a bigger school for my kids. This is the size, where there is no anonymity, kids and teachers know each other, they know the whole building and feel comfortable. We can not accept the idea of making a monster sized school, which will obviously create many social problems, especially if located in such a kids-unfriendly area.
    When I was a child, back in the 80. I was in a school of more than 2000 pupils and I know what that means. Total crowd, anonymity, no integration, noise etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Heather Ross-Sirola says:

    HI all -my kids have graduated from EIS but I was one of the parents who fought for the facility to be built – and we waiting 15 years for it to happen. I signed the petition and left this comment – which I will share also here with a few key points to consider.

    “EIS waited for 15 years to have the new facility built. It was delayed for many reasons including change of political leadership and objectives in Espoo. The children in this program have suffered poor facilities for long enough. (ie. Papinniitty (an earlier facility for gr 3-6 English students) is an office space with poor air quality and a very poor park that the parents had to fight to have built several years ago); Sepänkoulu annex (previous home to EIS) was also a temporary building where the students had no gym facility and had a shortened lunch period given the necessity to share with the neighboring primary school with negative effects on the kids and rushed or skipped eating).

    The city of Espoo MUST realize that they are subsidizing many English language daycares that feed children into EIS. There MUST be stability and an HONORING of the commitment that was made for this long awaited primary and middle school program facility.

    Related to this is the INSUFFICIENT number of IB high school places for the graduating students from this program. As a result, there is UNDUE STRESS on the Grade 9 students who must compete for too few IB study places and who end up struggling in Finnish schools. The side affect of this has been increased psychological distress, illness and increased healthcare costs. Therapy needs have increased – I urge you to consult the school nurse/counselor and psychologist for confirmation of this point.
    A more appropriate solution would be to consolidate the high schools and INCREASE the number of available IB high school spots – the DEMAND for which does NOT MEET CURRENT SUPPLY.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. artojoensuu says:

    As the author of this blog post already highlighted, the question at hand is an ethical one. With this statement, I refer to the underlying values and vision this great nation has publicly highlighted as being the guiding light to its long standing and internationally recognized educational system.

    EIS has played an insurmountable role in not only facilitating a home for world class education but also celebrating the richness created through multi-cultural encounters within. EIS is more than a building. It has become a fundamental part of the societal fabric that makes Suurpelto (and surrounding areas) what they are today. EIS is the “lahikoulu” for hundreds of children residing in the area. Their families have moved there to ensure their children have access to a safe, equality driven and multi-cultural learning environment where their children’s learning opportunities are not hindered because of their language skills or multi-national/cultural backgrounds.

    The EIS community is intricately bound to Suurpelto (and surrounding areas). The community is highly active and extends beyond EIS premises and facilities. I believe the sheer activeness and level of conversation regarding this topic (both through face to face conversations as well as digital channels like this blog) have demonstrated the sheer determination and tight bonds that exist within this community. I strongly encourage active and constructive dialogue on this matter until (for the lack of a better word) justice is served.

    What Espoo’s decision makers need to understand, is that you are not proposing to remove a school from the Suurpelto area. You are dismantling and removing an entire community. I’m hopeful that our leaders can inject the same degree of wisdom and foresight into this matter as they once did when designing the overall Finnish educational system we can all tip our hats off to. Let’s continue the dialogue and turn things around for the better.

    Arto Joensuu (a Finnish citizen, Suurpelto resident and proud father of 2 EIS students)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Harri says:

    EIS should not be moved. Kids like the current campus in a natural surrounding with good play space. Moving them to a commercial location denies a good environment. Traffic will be more and less nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Parent of EIS says:

    It is a very cynic way to deal with the children – like they would be boxes to be moved around to improve the numbers in someone’s plan – in this case I guess it is Technical department of a city, who is behind this plan. And yes, EIS happen to be an easy target – it does not have lähikoulu status, the city does not have obligation to care how kids could get to the school and back, as it is pure parents’ choice and responsibility.
    The worse thing here is not even moving to a new location again only after finding new home for EIS in Opinmaki just 2 ears ago (and I do not mention again here how unsuitable the place is for primary school). The worse thing is that we do not know what will happen in and after year 2019. There is not any warranty or certainty from the city that EIS will not be moved to some other place again in near future if suddenly a new city plan will arise.
    It is extremely sad to admit, that wishing the best for my two kids I have been choosing the school, which is used as a guinea pig for a highly disputable plan. It is very sad to see, that my kids are “just a numbers” to improve somebodies figures fitting into plan. It is very sad to know that my kids will not have the possibility to develop the sense of pride and feeling of belonging to their school – they will be dragged from place to place without real home school.

    Liked by 1 person

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